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Aichi D3A2 Val possibe crew members
Research by Justin Taylan

Several D3A2 Val dive bombers were lost attacking the Arawe (Mercus) area between December 17 - 31, 1943. These losses were from two units, both operating from Rabaul, the 552nd and 582nd Kokutai.

December 15, 1943
582nd Kokutai 7 Vals attack Mercus at 7:30am local time.

Losses
Val MIA (PO1 ?, PO2 Hotta)
Val MIA (LS Nishiki Ori, PO1 Saito)
Total = 2

December 17, 1943
582nd Kokutai 12 Vals plus 552nd Kokutai bomb Mercus at 7:06 local, claiming damage to one small cargo ship, 1 sea tiger, LVCP sunk. Plus, one small and one sea tiger burning. Also, one 'P-43' shot down.

Losses
582nd Kokutai
Val MIA (PO1 Okata, PO1 Kitaso)
Val MIA (PO1 Matsuo, PO1 Hadno)
Val MIA (PO1 Kai, PO1 Oshikiki (?)
Total = 3

December 21, 1943
32 Val (12 x 582nd Kokutai, 20 x 552nd Koktai) attack Mercus at 10:55 - 11:08 and are intercepted by P-38.

Losses
552nd Kokutai: 3 Vals MIA
PO1 Ternuma, PO1 Daicku
PO1 Yoshida, PO1 Monita
CPO Muro, PO1 Yasumori
582nd Kokutai: 1 Val MIA
Val PO2 Onishi, LS Wakamitsu
Total = 4

December 21, 1943 (second sortie)
18 Vals (9 x 552nd Kokutai and 9 x 582nd Kokutai) attack Mercus at 15:45 and calim 3 small transports sunk, 2 x LCT sea tigers sunk and ten small vessels burned, one large transport and part of the base destroyed. 20 x "F6F" and P-40s intercept.

Losses
552nd Kokutai
1 Val MIA (PO1 Honda, PO1 Tashiro)
Total = 1

December 26, 1943
15 Vals from 552nd Kokutai with 12 Vals from 582nd Kokutai attack shipping off Mercus
552nd Kokutai Vals attacked a "small vessel near Piriu Island
582nd Kokutai Vals claim 2 big cargo ships, 2 cruisers, 3 large cargo ships burning

Losses
552nd Kokutai
Val MIA (LS Numao, PO1 Saruwairi) **
582nd Kokutai
Val MIA (WO Okita, Lt Shimizu)
Val MIA ( PO1 Taniguchi, PO1 Ogawa)
Val MIA (PO1 Maeda, PO1 Sugimoto)
Val MIA (PO2 Uchida, LS Sato)
Total losses = 5

December 27, 1943
8 Vals from 552nd Kokutai (two aborted) along with 9 Vals from 582nd Kokutai attack Arawe (Merkus) escorted by Zeros

Losses
552nd Kokutai: D3A2 Val pilot Ishisugi (MIA)
582nd Kokutai
D3A2 Val pilot FPO 1/C NISHIGAMI Juro, obs FPO 1/c SAITO Yoshio)
D3A2 Val pilot pilot CF NAKAJIMA Saburo, obs FPO 1/c NADA Hideo)
Total = 3

December 29, 1943
17 Vals attack (9 x 582nd Kokutai, 8 x 552nd Kokutai) attack Mercus and claim two PT Boats sunk and enemy base on island burned, attacking at 7:50pm.

Losses
Val observed to crash (PO1 Nishigayhira, PO1 Saito) ***
Val MIA (LS Nakashima, PO1 Harada)
Total = 2

Decemeber 31, 1943
9 x Val attack Mercus at 13:15 and meet 30 fighters and claim cargo ships sunk

Losses
Val MIA (PO1 Nishihaka, WO Tajima)
Val MIA (PO1 Shimizu, PO1 Yamano)
Val MIA (PO1 Nada, PO1 Mikuno)
Val MIA (Shainya (?), CPO Fukime
Total = 4

TOTAL LOSSES OVER ARAWE = 20

References
** These two losses have probablily of being lost in the sea or this wreck, but any of these losses could be.
Kodochosho, 552nd Kōkūtai, December 17-31, 1943
Kodochosho, 582nd Kōkūtai, December 15-31, 1943
Thanks to Minoru Kamada and Osamu Tagaya for additional information

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